the teen room reveal

This is almost the before... we had some of the extra furniture from all over the house in here at the time we took these pictures, and only the bed and book shelves (not pictured) stayed in the room.  The room was pretty bare, with drab, dirty pink walls, ugly everything. 

This room will be our office/guest room; but for the time that Tyler lives with us, it will be her bedroom.  So for now, much of the "office-y" stuff is in the attic or basement and we have the extra tv, wii, and dvd player in there for her use (so we don't have to watch "Switched at Birth" and such.)

 The most complete room in the house belongs to Tyler. She contributed a lot of the sweat equity in order to give herself her own space, and we were happy to see a room come together so quickly. We really worked hard.

We already had a foam mattress top, so we found a used twin bed on craigslist for $20.

First we found an old but cute dresser and headboard on the curb. We sanded and prepped them, and modpodged lace to make them a set. Then we painted them both with glossy "Beluga" gray. Wow. Talk about awesome transformation from trash to treasure.

We special ordered some drawer pulls for the dresser to complete the look. (Okay, we attached the two easy ones, but got lazy when we realized we needed to drill holes to attach the other ones, so Tyler just leaves her drawers open an inch. Zola loves this because she keeps snickers in her bottom drawer, and Zola can reach in there.)

We got coordinating green floor lamp, black rug, green and black floral bedding set, big green chair and wall art at Walmart. I already had a black and white damask footrest we weren't using, which matches the look well.

Here is the pallette.  Most of the colors are from the Behr collection and were semi or hi-gloss.  But the green shown is an approximation, because we selected the color from the Martha Stewart pallette and I couldn't find it online to show you guys.

We (Tyler) painted the walls a light grey, with one darker "Cement" grey accent on the wall with the tent-window seat. Most of the trim was painted ultra bright white, but the baseboard was painted Beluga. We got silver switch plates to match the dresser pulls. We still need to paint the ceiling ultra white. 

With the left over three colors of accent paint (Beluga, Green, and Cement) we projected and traced a print out of some wall vinyl we found at Target to create a hand painted mural of tall whimsical lollipop flowers on one wall.

We also had some corner shelves that we wanted to mount on the walls, so we got some scroll brackets and glossy bright green paint, finished them and hung them. (Okay, we hung one, got lazy and never hung the other and now Tyler likes having it at bedside height for her alarm clock, so we just left it there.)

We washed the lace curtains that came with the house and converted one of the bedsheets that came with her bedding set into a balloon valance.

It is amazing how much better it looks in there.  These pictures do not do it justice!  But, here it is, the final REVEAL... dun dun DUNNNNN>>>>



This edition of your favorite blog will be about my rent-a-kid, Tyler.  This chica is very photogenic, yes?  She really looks like me when I was a young whipper snapper.

And my other munchkins LOVE her.  She definitely brings fresh air into their routines.  They have someone who can keep up with them now.  And PLAY!  Man, they sure can.

She is very helpful and adding room in our lives for the many things we have going on... painting things, constructing things, running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to get "settled."  But, what I didn't expect and am surprisingly warmed by is how full our lives feel now.  They were full before, but full of blah to-do-lists.  Now they are full of fun and the to-do lists still get done.

It is definitely different having a teen.  We've rented kids before, but almost always 18+ years.  Teens have energy, drama, events, and everything is epic.  Yes.  Somehow, even the daily minutia can be epic now.  Everything is just so much more interesting.

And the Summer-Fun-A-Rama never stops.  Check back for more installments in the next couple of weeks... when Brandy & JJ are here and we see Manhattan, Ocean City, MD, Philly, and Washington, D.C. in a break neck road tour.  What?  Oh, and concert in Detroit, trip to LA and San Fran, Cedar Point coaster time, and killer halloween/quadruple birthday bash (JJ, Mark, Tyler, and Zola.)  And that's just the weekends... imagine the daily small stuff to scale... Oh, and over here, we just call that October, people. 


crazy girl

Zola started calling Viola "vi-vi" a long time ago... back in the beginning it was more of a "bye-bye" and now we all call her Vi Vi.  

She is so spunky and energetic.  I call her "crazy girl" and these pictures just emulate for me the feeling of knowing her.  She's a blast and a hand full.  She grins with a scowl like a pirate, and she cries with such earnest, even when she's faking it!



We are in the midst of our seventh annual season of summer-fun-a-rama (SFAR).  What is SFAR, you may ask?  It's a goal.  An ambition, say, to see how FAR we can push ourselves with fun for an entire season.  It began back in March 2005, when, for the first time ever, we purchased a vehicle that could drive more than 5 miles without breaking down.  And we have been contributing our carbon emissions at a higher than average rate every summer since.  That first summer, we took a road trip every single weekend.  We saw every corner of Arizona and some of Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California as well.  Once we moved to Los Angeles, CA, the fun came to us.  We had three amusement parks, a coastline of beaches, family ready to come visit us any time, and no limit to the amount of fun we were willing to crush into a summer. 

I have noticed something alarming happening to our tradition since moving to Ohio... the Summers here seem longer.  The fun seems to have a higher level of quest to it.  The drama and marathon of it all climax to a furried olympian test later in what can only legitimately be called Fall.  Next thing you know, we'll be having All-Year-Round-Fun-A-Rama.  Our lives need respite from fun.  You really can have too much.  I love it while it lasts, but I do look forward to dropping into the couch for a long winter of lazy slumber.

I realize this is a first-world problem.  If I hear myself correctly, I might be complaining that my life is too fun... that I have too many opportunities to exhaust myself in indulging entertainment.  You should really pity me.  By February, I'll be hearing the siren call of SFAR and we will be back at it again.

This weekend, we'll be tent camping in West Virginia.  Feel sorry for me while I'm rock climbing, drinking wine, and enjoying good friends and nature.  Either that, or get off the couch and feel sorry for yourself!


do you miss me?

Zola has a crazy vocabulary. Grammar is still bad... like "Mom, I angry." But she can count pretty high (twenty but sometimes skips from fifteen to seventeen or something). She is extremely comfortable with people. She just goes over and sits in the neighbors lap and starts telling them stuff. Super confident. She does try to teach Viola stuff and is incorporating her in play more often. She is getting interested in pretending and picks up the garden hose and says, "I fire fighter. I drive a firetruck and fight fire with my hose." and then she dances like she's riding a horse/firetruck. She wants to eat non-stop and she tells you what, specifically she wants. Egg. Egg? Egg? Rah-vah-oli, mom? Sannich? Peanut butter sannich, mom? Chip? want water, mom-may. Not that cup. This cup. Puh-asta, please? Cracker? mac-n-cheese? I WANT WATER! WATER! I feel like the most used sentences at our house are, "No, Zola. You just ate. You don't need anything else." and "Where's your water bottle? I'm getting your water, relax." Still no potty training. That's up to dad to get started because she has been ready for a long time. She can do a somersault and tippy toe ballerina dance.

Viola is still a crazy person. She walked off the top of three steps the other day and landed in a chest roll in the grass and started cracking up laughing. Reminds me of Jared a lot, actually. High energy, laughing, patient, and resilient. She's become more agressive and will instigate fights now and do mean things to Zola or other kids she's around. She'll pinch, bite, hit, etc. She's usually getting revenge, because she gets the brunt most of the time from the older kids. But, she can hold her own. Doesn't say much. Still mainly just says "dada" and rarely will say "mama" but she does know a lot of words and will sometimes breathe them quietly (kitty, thank you, milk, or mimic whatever). She gestures (points, waves, shrugs, etc) and grunts and communicates very effectively... in a way that lets you know that she's comprehending everything. She's almost not a baby anymore. She still loves me to hold and rock her. And she snuggles me really tight. But, she doesn't do that for everyone. (She NEVER snuggles Mark.) She can go up and down stairs by herself (while I panic) and can do the slide by herself (but sometimes she tries to walk down it or jump off the top head first, so again, while I panic)

And we got a rent-a-kid.  If you haven't heard... we have Tyler living with us for a while.  If you are wondering... "Tyler, who?..." Paula's granddaughter is wanting people to call her Tyler now, instead of Mariah.  We're used to calling her that now.  She came to live with us a few days before high school started here and goes to a school with over 4,000 students and three principals.  She is adjusting to city life and keeping very busy between school, helping with the kids and remodel projects, and enjoying teen life.  We are so excited that she will be turning 16 while she lives with us and getting an Ohio drivers license!  For her birthday, we are hoping to take an East Coast City tour to D.C., Manhattan, and wherever else we can fit in along the way.  We've been having a lot of fun just hanging out with her, watching movies, showing her Cleveland, and decorating her room.  I'm going to do a whole post on her room.  It's the most gorgeous room in my house right now.

As for an update on the house... it is starting to look how we envisioned, but it's far from "finished."  That is a LONG way off.  But, we finished quite a bit.  Please drop by Mark's blog, link in the side bar.  He posted some before and after pictures and tells the story much better than me.